Sheena, a 16-month old Bengal tiger, watches Huskies practice Tuesday.
by Curtis Crabtree
MONTLAKE - The players were in for a bit of shock as they took to the practice field to prepare for their matchup with the LSU Tigers on Saturday.
They didn't expect an actual live Bengal tiger to be waiting for them today.
"I had no idea," linebacker Travis Feeney said. "It was pretty funny when I ran out... I was like 'Oh! A tiger!'"
Sheena, a 16-month old Bengal tiger, was sitting in a cage right at the entrance to the east practice field as the Huskies went to work on Tuesday. Washington contacted A Walk on the Wild Side, a private animal reserve located in Canby, Ore., and looked into the possibility of bringing a tiger to practice.
"That was pretty neat deal," defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said. "I think the kids kind of thought that was pretty cool."
LSU has a long standing tradition of having a live mascot in a cage at Tiger Stadium that is situated outside the visiting locker room. "Mike the Tiger VI" will greet the Huskies as they're entering the stadium before kickoff on Saturday.
Having Sheena attend practice Tuesday was a way of preparing the players for the shock of seeing a tiger up close and allow them not to be distracted by it when the game gets underway.
"Coach wants to get us used to it so then when we play them and come out of the locker room, we already know that's there so there's no distraction," Feeney said.
Sheena is currently 300-pounds and is expected to double in size by the time she's fully grown. A Walk on the Wild Side is a 200-acre facility that houses over 150 different animal species from farm animals to exotic animals.